"Hey Nemesis, where are the girls?"
Nemesis looked up from his concentration on the ice to see me wobbling down the road to the pond on my three-sizes-too-freaking-small ice skates. "I dunno. They said something like fifteen minutes, but that was--"
"Twenty minutes ago?" I rolled my eyes. The tardiness of the female members of our family was a well-documented and well-know fact. I considered a sarcastic comment but couldn't think of anything that I hadn't already said a few million times. Ugh.
"Wanna play something?" I inquired.
Nemesis spun in a neat circle. I couldn't tell if it was deliberate or not; knowing him, it probably wasn't. "Sure. What game?"
"How about hockey?" I asked, disregarding the inconvenient fact that neither of us had the slightest idea of how to play it. After the Midway Golfing Incident, we kids had realized that our guesses to how any particular game was played was always more fun than the actual rules invariably turned out to be; normal rules typically didn't let us duel each other.
"Hockey...that's the one with the sticks, right?" Nemesis asked, both questioning my recollection of the game and quoting the Doctor for the TV show Doctor Who at the same time.
I laughed. "Pretty sure. Sticks and some disk thingy...puck, I think?"
"Where can we get them from?"
I wobbled my way back off the ice. "Let's try the shop."
The shop, predictably, yielded two hoes, one of which was flattened so that the blade stuck straight out of the handle instead of having the traditional "hook" to it. I took that one; Nemesis took the normal one. "Now we need a ball of some sort," I mused, looking around the shop. "The pond is too snowy for a disk to slide. Maybe a basketball?"
"A basketball?" Nemesis asked dubiously.
"Yeah, let's try it. Could you go get it?" I asked, heading back out to the ice to draw up some goal lines.
Nemesis came back with a basketball and, better yet, a croquet ball. "Brilliant," I complemented him, taking it.
"How should we start?" Nemesis asked.
"CHARGE!!!" I yelled and whacked the ball as hard as I could towards Nemesis's goal. He sped after it, with me in hot pursuit. He hooked the ball with his hoe and sent it hurtling back at me. I tried to block it by planting the blade of my hoe in front of it, but my non-standard, straight hoe just bounced it up off the ground and towards my face.
Not optimal. I leaned backwards hastily, and the ball flew over my head to land (luckily) in the snowbank at the edge of the pond, away from the goal. "Yes!!!" I yelled as I picked myself up and dusted myself off.
"Aww," Nemesis complained, looking disappointed.
"Bring it," I grinned, feeling rather cocky. That feeling vanished in a moment when, after a quick flurry of sticks, Nemesis managed to smack the ball through my legs and into my goal. I sighed. "Okay, the score is oogy to boogy. And it's my ball."
Nemesis and I somehow managed to fit three collisions, a wrestling match, two stick fights, and five shoves into the snowbank in before Nemesis made a lucky kick to the ball, sending it through my goal again. He also managed to clobber me in the kneecap with his stick. I hobbled over to the goal to retrieve the ball. "You know, Nemesis," I commented, "I really wish I had your hoe."
The next match was better for me. I managed to smack Nemesis into a snowback, hit the ball towards his goal, and...miss. Nemesis whacked it back at me, I mistakenly tried to block it with my hoe, and it bounced up and whacked me in the stomach. Nemesis tackled me (maybe by mistake, but since there were no rules against tackling, I suppose he could have done it on purpose. Neither of us are very good skaters), so when I landed in the ball, I managed to grab it and, with a weak flip of my wrist, send it rolling lazily through Nemesis's goal. Nemesis lunged for it with his hoe but missed by inches.
"Aww, come on, that's not fair!" he protested.
"Where is that written in the rules?" I wheezed, still out of breath from having the big lummox landing on me.
Nemesis sighed. "I suppose it's fair...okay, the score is now oogy to boogy!"
"I already had oogy!" I protested. "It's boogy to twoogy now!"
"Oh, right," Nemesis nodded. "My ball this time!"
"Fine by me," I grunted, dusting myself and checking to make sure all my body parts were roughly in their correct respective locations.
Nemesis opened ball four up with a hard whack towards my goal. I blocked it with my skate and sent it off at an angle towards the side of the pond. We both charged; a flurry of sticks, and it rolled back towards my goal.
Alarmingly close to my goal.
Nemesis brought his stick back for the winning shot; I grabbed it out of the air from behind and reached around to try to smack the ball away. Nemesis grabbed my stick; I overbalanced and wiped out, taking us both down. Nemesis landed on me again but, disregarding insignificant issues like crushed ribs and lack of oxygen, I maintained a firm hold on both sticks and somehow managed to kick the ball away towards the middle of the pond. We had a brief but useless wrestling match, which we finally desisted from because we were laughing too hard to continue.
"Okay, on the count of three, we release each other's sticks," Nemesis suggested.
"Which one is mine, anyway?" I asked. In the fracas, I'd lost track of which one was mine, and I couldn't see the ends because--as I mentioned--Nemesis was on top of me.
"The one I'm wiggling is mine," Nemesis informed me, with appropriate actions.
"Ah. Okay, one...two...HOLD IT!!! Solemn vow that no one charges until we're both ready," I demanded, remembering that he currently had the upper hand. Literally and figuratively.
"Okay. One, two, three!" Nemesis agreed, releasing my stick. I released his, and we both got up. Nemesis looked around for the ball. "Where'd it go?"
It turned out the girls, who were now out and wanted to skate without the danger inherant to two competitive boys waving large sticks with metal tips around indiscriminately, had thrown the ball off the pond. We ignored their pleas for sanity, tracked down the ball, and spotted it to where we figured that it had landed. Then, after some debate, we both placed our sticks down a set distance away from the ball and backed up even further. Then, a reluctant Squirrel yelled "Ready, set, go!" for us.
We charged. Nemesis went for his hoe, snatching it in time to give the ball a hearty whack. I went for the subtle approach, ignoring my garden implement entirely in favor of sliding in and blocking the ball with my skate. Nemesis smashed his hoe into my knee again, causing me to collapse on both the ball and my hoe.
"Hey, no fair!" Nemesis protested.
"Your fault," I grunted, faceup and clutching my hoe. I managed to jackknife up and twist violently in midair to smack the ball away from underneath me with my hoe before collapsing facedown on the ice. Nemesis yelped in surprise and, when he started charging after the ball, got tripped when I kicked his skate out from under him. The end result was that we both arrived at the ball at the same moment. Another flurry of sticks, feet, and arms ensued, after which the ball was discovered to have rolled past the goal. Nemesis and I scurried over to the goal to trace the ball's path through the snow.
"YES!!! I MADE IT!!!" I cheered, then collapsed on the ground, laughing. Nemesis managed that impressive feat of laughing while standing, an accomplishment I was too tired and sore to try to duplicate. Besides, my jeans were already soaked anyway; his weren't.
I rolled over onto my back wheezing. "The final score is twoogy to twoogy!"
"We should play this again!" Nemesis rejoiced.
I nodded. "Oh, and by the way...man down! I think I'll just stay down here for a bit..."